7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As we go through our everyday lives, completing one task after the other, it is easy to say that we are working and functioning as effectively as we can. It’s important to take a break sometime and observe how other people function. Are we working as hard and as effective as our highly effective and successful colleagues?

Since we all want to be successful and effective individuals, try these seven habits to find your own success.

1. They are proactive
You cannot finish anything if you just sit around and just wait for things to happen. Effective individuals know that there’s no value in lazing around and in spending more time on words than in actions. The most powerful thing you can do is to take the reins on your hands and initiate movement.

2. They prioritize
When confronted with so many tasks, it’s tempting to stop when the going gets tough. However, the most effective thing to do is to actually push through. The difficulty of a task should not change its priority level in your to-dos.

3. They understand things before tackling them
Oftentimes, people start doing things without property understanding the instructions, which ultimately results into ineffective actions that’s far from the outcome they expected. Setting aside ample time to sort things out and plan carefully will significantly benefit the outcome.

4. They synergize
there’s nothing more effective than teamwork. Regardless how good you are when you work alone, there’s always greater power when you work in numbers. Try to synergize on every task you have, and you’ll be surprised how much more effective you can be.

5. They don’t make excuses
Regardless of how many excuses they make, effective people know that it will never change the outcome. Even valid excuses do not finish a project or make them successful. In case of failure, successful and highly effective people see this as an opportunity, not a hindrance that blocks their success.

6. They are not afraid of failure
As the old adage “no risk, no reward” applies true to highly effective people. They go all out for it almost with a willingness to fail. Just like most of us, they are not interested with failing, but they know that it is part of being successful to experience failure. They see it as a chance to improve themselves and do better the next time around.

7. They embrace breaks and alone time
Lastly, and probably the most important habit of all is taking good care of yourself. Let yourself enjoy your own time and space, not just once in a blue moon but a little bit every single day, to help heal your burnt-out ends. Allow some time to regenerate and regroup, and you’ll find that you are more effective when you are at your best.
Start pondering on these seven things. Try to adapt them one at a time and see things chance for the better in your life.

6 Subtle Signs Your Pet Cat is Depressed

Humans are not the only ones who can experience depression. Cats can be sensitive and can also feel whirls of different emotions. If you suspect anything strange in your cat’s behavior, try to look for these signs to help you tell what’s going on.

1. Twitching of Tail
One of the tell-tale signs of an upset cat is their tail. A happy cat usually moves its tail softly and lightly, but a depressed cat may make quick and sharp movements of their tail. Do a little investigation to find the source of discomfort. Felines are creatures of habit and resist change, so start recalling any recent changes.

2. Lethargy
Cats are good sleepers, but a physically and emotionally stable cat also enjoys some spurts of activities. A happy cat loves to stretch, explore, hunt and play every now and then. So, if you notice your cat is sleeping more than normal and seem uninterested in things that usually excites her, look into the possibility of depression.

3. Sudden Neediness
Independence, aloofness and moody—these are some of the common traits of cats. Many cat owners talk about how their pets curl up in their lap and smooches them in the morning. If this is a sudden change of their usual independent behavior, then it could be a first sign of depression.

4. Over or Under Grooming
A change on your cat’s grooming habits can also indicate depression. Some sad cats may stop grooming themselves altogether (or at least will no longer exert the same effort at it), which results to dandruff, oily fur or knots in the hair. Conversely, a depressed cat also has the tendency to overgroom, causing irritated skin, bald patches and even open wounds.

5. Pining Away at the Window
When you leave, your cat will miss you—and that alone can turn into depression if you are gone to often. While cats are known to be independent beings, they still want to be around you, bond with you and be part of the family. Playing with your cat on a regular basis helps solidify the bond you have, so take some time to cuddle and play with your kitty.

6. Pooping in Unusual Places
If your kitty is pooping in places other than her litterbox, it can be a sign of underlying health issue or depression. It is important to react to it in a positive way. Since cats are solitary mammals, they lack the capability to understand social cues or to connect the punishment to their action. Instead, use positive reinforcement and make sure that her litterbox is always accessible and clean.

Anything from unstimulating environment to a family member leaving home can cause depression to and can change the behavior of your beloved feline. However, since most of the above symptoms can also be signs of underlying medical problem, it is still vital to visit your veterinarian once you notice any of those in your cat.

Fencing and Its Benefits

With Amita Berthier rising to World No.2 in junior foil rankings, the popularity of fencing in Singapore is reaching new heights. There are also now a lot of fencing schools around the country like Z Fencing and Modern Fencing Academy. However, still, not many people are familiar with the sport. So let’s get to know fencing and the benefits it can give us.

Getting to know fencing
Fencing is a group of three different disciplines namely: foil, épée, and sabre. Fencing is categorized into these three combat sports all with points being awarded by successfully touching an opponent with the weapon.

Weapons:
• Foil (max weight – 500 grams): targets the torso; points are awarded only with touches from the tip of the weapon.
• Épée (max weight – 775 grams): the entire body is a valid target; just like in foil, touches are scored with the tip.
• Sabre (max weight – 500 grams): entire body above the waist is a valid target; points are awarded with touches from both the side and tip, basically the entire blade.

Complete physical workout
Fencing can be considered a full-body workout as you literally will have to use every muscle from head to toe. An hour of straight fencing and running around the piste (the ‘playing area’ or ‘ring’ as you might call it) will be enough to make you burn 400 calories.

• Cardio: All the dashing, leaping, and lunging in fencing will definitely benefit cardiovascular fitness. Because of high-intensity bursts of movement naturally utilized in fencing, it prompts heart rate to increase. When this happens, oxygen levels in our blood rise and the blood vessels expand. As a result, the heart will be healthier and will able to function more effectively.

• Muscle fitness: Because of the main movements involved in the sport, you will notice that fencers have big and strong legs. The core and back muscles are also directly involved in promoting powerful body movement and maintaining the balance of a fencer.

Improved coordination
Eye-hand coordination, mind-body coordination, you name it, all of these make fencing such a smooth yet fast-paced sport. In fencing, the arms and the legs are required to move harmoniously for a fencer to be able to defend, attack, and counter attack in the best ways possible. From sword movement, to foot work, to applying body movement efficiently, the sport itself is built on proper physical and mental coordination.

Enhanced reaction time
Take out pistol and rifle shooting, and fencing may well be the fastest Olympic sport. Fencing demands quick responsive actions and decisions when it comes to attacking, defending, and countering. It basically improves our ability to think on our feet. Fencers must make the right decisions and perform the appropriate actions in just a matter of seconds. Hence, adding a swift blade to the lightning fast movement of a trained fencer means that bouts are decided very quickly.

Benefits of Sleeping with Your Clothes Off

Now we all know that sleeping naked is not a very conventional thing to do. Although a lot of people do it, it still isn’t as popular. Surprisingly though, sleeping with your clothes off actually has a lot of advantages.
When it gets too hot…

Especially in Singapore, where the hot climate of the day can transition to warm nights, sleeping naked makes the heat a little more bearable. If you don’t have an aircon, you will have less problems waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Sleeping naked can help your body temperature drop to the optimum levels needed for sleep.

Reduces stress
When we are stressed out, our cortisol levels reach levels that can affect us negatively. Plus, when we go to bed with high levels of cortisol, we won’t be able to have quality sleep. Hence, when we wake up in the morning, we might still feel exhausted and then again accumulate more stress. Sleeping naked allows the body to cool down naturally and aid the body in maintaining balanced levels of cortisol.

You get to save money
On the flip side, if you want to turn off the AC and save a bit of money, then sleeping naked can help you with that. Also, if you really get into it, you would not have to think about buying any sleepwear. Or if you go to laundry services, you won’t spend that much money because you have less clothes to wash.
Gives you less things to worry about

Again, you won’t have to worry about looking for your sleepwear and putting it on. You can just take off the clothes you wore for the day and go straight to bed! You won’t also have to worry about putting away or washing more clothes.

Might help you lose weight
Some say that sleeping naked can help you lose weight. The explanation to this is that if you go to bed while your body is overheated from a long tiring day, it won’t be able to produce melatonin and the human growth hormone as efficiently. This means that cortisol levels are the ones that increase instead. When this happens, the body will choose to store fat instead of burning it. Going back to the effects of cortisol, waking up with high levels of that hormone will basically make you eat more (or “stress eat”) during the day.

Promotes better sleep
All in all, it all boils down to getting better sleep. Sleeping naked allows our body to undergo natural sleep and thermoregulation processes without the interference of clothes. The human body’s temperature, by nature, drops when we sleep. And having clothes on may as well interrupt this process. This means that keeping the body cool and freewill help you enjoy better and deeper sleep.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing Your Bag for Travel

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Here are the do’s and don’ts of packing your luggage to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible:

Do’s

  • Bring a carry-on aside from yourluggage bag. Your carry-on should contain the things that you need to have onyou at all times, from your wallet to your laptop, to even a couple of books(flights can take a while, and they can be quite boring when you have nothingto do).
  • Remember to have all your in-flight essentials (passport, ID, wallet, gadgets) in a carry-on that you can carry with you at all times. Preferably, you want your carry-on to be a backpack to keep your hands free.  
  • Keep your toiletries in a separate compartment and in a smaller bag separate from your clothes. This will keep them from getting lost and jumbled along with the rest of your luggage and save you a lot of time when you do decide to unpack.  
  • Try to avoid being over-packed for overnight trips. However, being ready in times of emergency, can definitely save you. For instance, if you spill something on your shirt and need to change, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Secure your luggage with a lock ora cable tie. This minimizes any chances of your bag being broken into andanything getting stolen.

Don’ts

  • Don’t assume your carry-on won’t be inspected at the gate – airport security is different from country to country. Even if your luggage is completely within the limits of what your airline said, make sure that everything you need to have with you at all times is already with you.
  • Don’t use old bags when packing for travel. Unless they are specifically durable (i.e. suitcases), there’s always a god chance that your backpack straps might snap in the middle of a busy line at the airport.
  • Don’t just jam everything into your suitcase – once you take the time to fold your clothes and arrange them in order, you’ll discover that there’s more space in your bag than you once thought were possible.
  • Don’t pack everything and thekitchen sink. While adding an extra shirt or pair of pants or underwear maycome in handy, there’s certainly no need to over-pack. To avoid doing this,plan out what you’re going to be doing when you’re on your trip.

Being aware of these do’s and don’ts will allow you to make the right decisions you need when it comes to packing for your trip, and will be sure to save you a lot of time later on.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Types of Travel Bags

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While there are different types of bags that you can choose from, each one has its own specific purpose. Here they are for your consideration:

Backpack

There are two words that are reason enough why many people such as campers, hikers, and adventurers choose to go with a backpack: hands free.

Even if you’re carrying a month’s worth of luggage, the weight is evenly distributed on your back that you won’t be bothered too much when you’re carrying it. Most backpacks these days are durable and can be easily cleaned when exposed to dirt or mud.

When choosing a backpack, be sure to choose one that’sespecially suited for your purpose. Checking on the backpack’s quality andcharacteristics (i.e. size, features, and safety) will help you do thiseasily. 

Duffel Bag

Duffel bags have earned their status as “all-purpose” for a reason – they’re easy to carry with one or both handles, and two people can share the weight when they’re carrying it.

The size and make of duffel bags is what makes them ideal for containing almost anything when you’re travelling long distance. Nowadays, most duffel bags even have separate compartments and pockets for cell phones.

If you don’t like having to carry duffel bags by hand,some types and brands also have a sling option that you can use.

Suitcase

Suitcases tend to be reserved strictly for lightweight luggage trips or trips that strictly call for them, such as business trips or high-profile social gatherings. With suitcases, your clothes become much easier to fold and organize, and they’re a great way to keep your shirts and pants wrinkle-free.

Another advantage that suitcases have over the other two type of travel bags is the ease of which you can move them, as having a bag with rolling wheels definitely beats carrying the weight on your back or on one hand.

However, suitcases also have their disadvantage. The rolling wheels make it difficult to maneuver over muddy or rough terrain, and you would often end up having to carry it by the side handle.

At the end of the day, be sure to keep in mind that travel is all about blending in with the crowd, instead of standing out. This is especially true when you’re going abroad or overseas, where looking like a tourist will almost automatically signal people to react or respond to you in different ways.

15 Cool Things to Check out in Singapore

Sometimes, we see something so often that we fail to appreciate just how awesome it is. Well, don’t be a stranger in your own country. Check out these awesome places in SG:

1. The Ritz-Carlton’s Art Collection. This hotel has an amazing art collection. Among its prized artworks on display is a Frank Stella installation at the entrance and two Dale Chihuly chandeliers.

2. Hawker Centres. Foreigners rave about the food in our hawker centres, so make sure to visit (and appreciate) them every now and then.

3. Haji Lane. Located at the heart of Singapore’s Moslem district, Haji Lane may be small in size but it offers riches for fashionistas.

4. The Night Life. Well, sure, we’re no New York or Tokyo, but make no mistake: we know how to party. Must-visit venues are the Training Shed and Zouk.

5. Kampong Glam District. This place offers wonderful boutiques, fashionable shops, cosy cafés and cool bars with a Malayan flavor. Check out Masjid Sultan Mosque for something more traditional.

6. Singapore Zoo. One of the best zoos in the region, here you can find and even interact with a myriad of wildlife.

7. Chinatown Heritage Centre. Going here would feel like time traveling as the establishment superbly recreated sets and scenes from Singapore 100 years in the past.

8. The Local Music Scene. The best place to find up-and-coming music artists is probably the Hood Bar and Café, though the Esplanade offers plenty too.

9. Trick Eye Museum. Spend a wonderful afternoon here playing with magical optical illusions and other 2D and 3D marvels.

10. The Singapore Flyer. Towering at 165 meters, this iconic Ferris Wheel will give you a breath-taking panoramic view of Singapore—plus others cool amenities.

11. Singapore Botanic Gardens. Open from 5AM until midnight, SBG offers a bucolic retreat from the metropolis. Even just a short walk here will give you a sense of serenity.

12. Little India. Little India has famous sweet shops, temples, boutiques, salons, and tattoo and henna parlours.

13. Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditionally celebrated to give thanks to a good harvest, the Mid-Autumn Festival is now akin to an artistic show of beautiful lanterns and other creative displays.

14. National Museum of Singapore. For a dose of cultivation, head to NMS to check out art exhibits, film screenings, historic displays and other enriching cultural shows.

15. Gadgets on the Cheap. Practice your haggling skills at Sim Lim Square and Funan Digitalife Mall to get the best deals on gadgets, appliances and all kinds of electronics.

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list—actually, this barely even scratches the surface—which only goes to show that there’s so, so much you can find here in Singapore—even for locals.

How to Deal with Migraine

To those afflicted with the condition, a migraine attack can be one of the worst experiences in life. It’s a headache so severe that it leaves one unable to do even basic functions like eating and walking (much less complex tasks like driving or doing work). Avoid the horrible pain of migraine by knowing how to remedy an incoming attack.

Avoiding Your Triggers
Migraine can be triggered by different things, so your first line of defense is to avoid your specific triggers.

The most common triggers are:
Food: Cheese, coffee, salty food, dried fish, citrus fruits, cured meats, alcohol, chocolates, nuts, and food additives can possibly trigger migraine. Going hungry or having a poor diet can also cause migraine.

Changes in the environment: Glaring light from the sun, humid weather, and sudden change in barometric pressure or temperature also causes migraine in some people.

Stress or fatigue: Migraine is highly related to stress, particularly stress from work. Extremely emotional episodes—including depression, anxiety, excitement and shock—may also trigger the condition.

Other possible migraine triggers are: very loud noises, strong odors/scents, dehydration, excessive sleep, excessive exercise, prolonged computer use, menstrual period, and eyestrain (bright and flickering lights).

Staying Off Migraine
Most people can sense an oncoming migraine, especially if they know their triggers and usual symptoms (such as a light headache at the back of the head, neck stiffness, sudden mood change and constipation. A definite sign of an oncoming migraine for some people is experiencing what is called an “aura”. This is an irregularity in the nervous system that causes visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights (even if you close your eyes) or getting a wavy, zig-zagging vision.

To avoid a full blown migraine attack, immediately avoid or refrain from any suspected triggers and find a way to relax your mind and body. Ideally, you should take a rest in a room with no strong stimuli – the lights are off/ dimmed, little or no sounds come from outside, and nobody would come in to interrupt you. It’s advisable to take some pain reliever if you’re already experiencing severe pain.

Preventing Future Migraine
Aside from avoiding your migraine triggers, it’s recommended to do the following to further reduce the chance of getting a migraine attack:

• Have a consistent daily schedule. Having a daily schedule means avoiding irregularities—whether these are food or situations—that can trigger migraine.

• Get an occasional massage. Massage has been known to help people relax, and helps the body recuperate. Acupressure also relieves migraine in some people.

• Have sufficient sleep. As much as possible, sleep for 6–8 hours a day at regular times. Lack of sleep causes stress that can lead to migraine.

• Improve your well-being. You can also fight stress off through activities that improve your well-being, such as exercising, yoga, meditation, prayer and spending time with your loved ones.

• Take some herbal medicine. Some herbs, including skullcap, feverfew and butter root, have been shown to reduce or eliminate episodes of migraine.

What You Need to Know About Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

While they have been used for as early as five or six thousand years ago, earlier methods of making are quite different than the ones we have now. Today, many producers of essential oils focus on the purity of the oil extracts.

Plants Used for Essential Oils
A lot of different plants are used for their essential oils, which contain these medicinal and health properties, for medical and hygienic purposes. Here are a few of them:

• Lavender – Lavender extracts are great for relieving stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue, as well as for treating bruises and stretch marks
• Peppermint – Used for nausea, vertigo, headaches, and even for exhaustion
• Tea tree – Extracts from this plant can be used for disinfectant and for treating skin blemishes, as well as acne.

How Essential Oils Are Extracted
Essential oils are taken by distilling plants whose oils can have certain therapeutic properties. The process uses different parts from different kinds of plants, such as roots, leaves, stems, and even the flowers and tree bark.
The result of distilling is a highly concentrated amount of the plant’s oils, which has both the fragrance and the properties of the plant itself, and can be used to treat different conditions in different ways.

The Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils have a lot of therapeutic properties that make them great to have at home, whether they are inhaled or applied as a topical ointment, such as:

• Balance hormones – Certain essential oils can do a lot to balance out hormone levels in the body, such as estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and especially the stress hormone cortisol.

• Boost your immune system – Whether it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, or antifungal, essential oils can help boost your immune system due to the chemical substances in them that can help your body fight off foreign pathogens.

• Improve your digestion – Aside from helping with stomach spasms, indigestion, and diarrhea, essential oils can even help your digestion to make it easier to break down and absorb nutrients that your body needs.

Essential oils can also have stimulating effects and leave you feeling refreshed and energized, which is great if you find yourself tired out and need to get your energy back. They can also improve your cognitive performance, and even lift your mood.

The Different Types of Essential Oils and What They Can Do For You

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

The Benefits of Common Oils
When used properly, essential oils are not just relaxing, but also boost your immune system and relieve headaches and stress that comes after a long day’s work, which makes them great to have for your home or office in Singapore.
What’s even better is that there are all kinds of essential oils made from different plants and can help you with all kinds of health benefits.

Tea Tree Oil
Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties and has a long history of being used as an antiseptic in Australia.

When inhaled, tea tree oil does a lot to relieve cough and prevents yeast and fungal infections from growing, and can be applied topically to heal cuts and wounds.

Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils, and has been known to improve sleep quality and concentration. It also encourages hair to grow for those who are suffering from a type of hair loss called alopecia areata.

Additionally, lavender can be used to fight anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder without having any harmful side effects that could lead it to being abused.

Peppermint Oil
Alleviating digestive problems can call for the use of peppermint oil, which not only alleviates nauseas, headaches, and stomach gases, but also calms the stomach’s smooth muscles and allows the bile to move more freely in the digestive system.

Peppermint oil can also be used to treat symptoms of the HSV-1 virus by acting as a virucide, though more research may be needed for this.

Jojoba Oil
Derived from the seeds of a woody plant native to certain areas in the United States, jojoba seeds can be distilled to make jojoba oil. This essential aromatic oil is often used to help heal wounds faster and reduce symptoms of acne outbreaks.

How You Can Use Essential Oils
Using essential oils after a long day is easy, and there are a lot of ways that you can enjoy it to get the best effects for you.

However, you should keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better with essential oils because they are highly concentrated extracts of the plant oil. For instance, one drop of peppermint oil is just as strong as twenty-eight cups of peppermint tea.

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